Michael McDowell has found a home with Front Row Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2018.
Left without a ride when Leavine Family Racing – where he’d raced for the past four years – opted for Kasey Kahne in the No. 95, McDowell had been one of a few drivers searching for a ride.
Thursday, Front Row revealed its plans for ’18, which include adding McDowell in a FRM Ford and re-signing David Ragan.
“Since I first drove for [owner Bob Jenkins] at Watkins Glen [in 2013], we’ve kept in touch and have felt like there might be an opportunity to work together again, and the timing worked out perfectly,” McDowell said.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a teammate, so I’m really looking forward to working with David, whom I’ve become pretty good friends with over the years. As a team now, we go into the season knowing we have five or six races that put us in position to get a win and earn a spot in the playoffs.”
McDowell finished 26th in points last season. Ragan returns for a second consecutive season with Front Row. Ragan previously drove for the team from 2012-14, scoring the organization’s first win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013. Last year, Ragan finished 30th in points with three top-10 finishes.
“Bob Jenkins and I have developed a good relationship over the years, both professionally and personally,” Ragan said. “I believe in this team and am proud to have been part of its growth and its successes. I’m excited that Bob and Ford have agreed to take the program to the next level, and I’m happy I’ll be here to help the team continue to grow.”
Sponsorship, crew chief pairings and car numbers will be announced at later date, the team said.
However, Front Row did announce it had solidified its plans to remain with Ford manufacturer support in what it called an “elevated partnership.” Front Row is also expanding its technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing.
“Ford has been a great partner for us for the past eight seasons, and we’ve agreed to work together to step up our program quite a bit,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got a lot vested in our partnership – relationships, knowledge, data – that we’re going to build on to make improvements both in the shop and at the track.
“David has been a great team member for us in his years with Front Row, both on and off the track. And Michael is a great addition to our team. I’ve been impressed with his talent watching him over the years and excited that he’ll be representing us and our partners next season.”